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Keywords:

  • cross-cultural research;
  • personality scales and inventories;
  • decision making

Abstract

A cautionary note is reported on the results and conclusions of McCrae et al. (this issue). The main counter argument to a straightforward interpretation of mean differences at a national level is the arbitrary nature of the metrics for personality traits. It is argued that this fundamental property lies behind potential threats to the interpretation of mean scores, such as frame-of-reference and accessibility effects. An empirical example of how accessibility can also have an influence on correlations is reported. The main message is that one should be very cautious in assuming that mean personality self-reports are necessarily more accurate than national stereotypes. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.